El Dorado Hills, Oak Ridge, United States, World

9/11, the EDH Rock; What it Meant and How People Responded

“We have something that has happened here at the World Trade Center. We noticed flame and an awful lot of smoke from one of the towers of the World Trade Center. We are just coming up on this scene” (9/11 Memorial Timeline).  September 11, 2001. A day where the two planes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and most importantly many American citizens died. That day, people experience the greatest trama of their lives. Even if they didn’t lose a family member to those attacks, everyone was affected physically, mentally, or even both. The patriotism grew between the people and they united. They joined together in their willingness to support others, help to defend the country in any way they can, and grief for the ones they lost. Everyone expresses their emotions differently and in the town of El Dorado Hills, someone painted on the rock as a remembrance of that day. The rock was once known as meaningful and held significant content on it, but people nowadays ruin its importance by unnecessary vandalism for their own amusement.

Crash on the twin towers and smoke coming from the buildings. (Quartz)

9/11 was a horrific day in American History. There was a lot of chaos, madness, and confusion. The many events that took place on that day were the “19 hijackers took control of four commercial passenger jets flying out of airports on the east coast of the United States. Two of the aircraft were deliberately flown into the main two towers (the Twin Towers) of the World Trade Center in New York, with a third hitting the Pentagon in Virginia. The fourth plane never reached its intended target, crashing in Pennsylvania” (BBC). As the attack was happening, many people across the country could not believe what they were seeing was real, whether it was on television, radio, or in person. The magnitude of the situation was to great process in the minds of everyday citizens. The amount of loss on that day was catastrophic, many lives were taken and everyone was affected. To cope with the experience of 9/11,  “Some flew the American flag from their front porches and car antennas. Others pinned it to their lapels or wore it on t-shirts. Sports teams postponed games. Celebrities organized benefit concerts and performances. People attended impromptu candlelight vigils and participated in moments of silence” (History). But for the people of El Dorado Hills, they painted on a rock to never forget this very important day.

A few weeks after the attacks, the rocks were painted (Village Life).

The rock represents how strong the people are in this country and how they moved on but without forgetting what had happened during 9/11. The 9/11 painting on the rock was not the first time it has been graffitied on. It dates back to almost 40 years ago when Oak Ridge High School first opened. Myedhhome states, “”The Rock” was a journal for high school students. Except for an occasional flashlight, rarely would people be seen close to “The Rock” and artwork wouldn’t be noticeable until daybreak, since it always mysteriously occurred at night” (myedhhome). Mr.Seely has been teaching at Oak Ridge since 1988 and has seen the evolution of the rocks. He states that, “Students had a rock that they vandalized… it was I think mostly good natured vandalism. I think there were a fair number of leadership kids that did this kind of thing so it was kind of vandalism but it really wasn’t. It wasn’t your property, and it wasn’t your rock and so you were, you know, crossing on somebody’s land and taking spray paint and now you’re painting on the rock. It was like that forever.” The rock was used more as a bulletin but soon was removed and the apartments took its place, relocating it to the archery side of El Dorado Hills Boulevard. Another rock was added for the community’s enjoyment of celebrating personal events such as birthdays while the other rock was used to remember those who had lost their lives from this intervention. Some would argue that it is okay for all the birthday announcements to be painted on the rocks. It allows the community to come closer and be apart of someone else’s special day. It can also bring joy to the person celebrating their big day by having it set on stone, on the side of the road where everyone can 

Birthday shoutouts painted on both rocks (Folsom Telegraph).

Announcing a birthday on a rock does not hold significance to the town, it should be used for more important days, for instance holidays. Martin Luther King Jr. Day passed and there was no painting on the rock but there were plenty of birthday shoutouts. Here we have a black man fighting against racism in his time and we did nothing as a community to honor what he had done to go against segregation. The rocks should be used in a way to showcase important events that have happened throughout history and not be used for personal pleasure.  




Article by May Graellos & Video by Olivia Helbling

Works Cited

“9/11 Interactive Timelines.” 9/11 Memorial Timeline, timeline.911memorial.org/#Timeline/2/AudioEntry/3. 20 Jan 2018.

“9/11 Memorialized on ‘The Rocks.’” Village Life, 13 Sept. 2011, www.villagelife.com/news/911-memorialized-on-the-rocks/. 11 Jan 2018.

“The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.” BBC News, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/history/events/the_september_11th_terrorist_attacks. 11 Jan 2018.

“The Infamous Rock of El Dorado Hills.” Myedhhome, 18 Jan 2016, www.myedhhome.com/single-post/2016/1/18/The-Infamous-Rock-of-El-Dorado-Hills. 11 Jan 2018.

History.com Staff. “Reaction to 9/11.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/reaction-to-9-11. 11 Jan 2018.

Merelli, Annalisa. “Read George W. Bush’s ‘Islam Is Peace’ Speech, Delivered Days after 9/11.” Quartz, Quartz, 11 Sept. 2017, qz.com/1074258/911-video-and-text-of-george-w-bushs-islam-and-peace-speech/. 11 Jan 2018.

“What’s on the Rock in El Dorado Hills?” Folsom Telegraph, 09 Jul 2014, www.folsomtelegraph.com/photos/what’s-rock-el-dorado-hills-0. 20 Jan 2018.


  1. I agree with the article that important days in American history should be remembered and recognized through the painting of the rocks. However, I also believe that over time, if the same holiday is solely remembered through the painting of a rock, it too will lose meaning. Driving past the two rocks every day on the way to school, I have seen the different events, birthdays, memorials, and more being recognized and remembered. When people do not paint about a certain holiday, instead of thinking about what isn’t on the rock, we should appreciate what is on there. The layers of paint over the past 40 years embody the history of the people of El Dorado Hills, never forgetting the past, always remembering the present, and painting our history for the future years to come.

  2. I agree with this post in the fact that the War on Terror and 9/11 attacks have held a certain significance in our society even today, as we have issued much higher security restrictions and measures than we used to have. In the same way, the rocks of El Dorado Hills have held a specific significance over the years, not only in reverence and respect of those lost in the attacks, but also important historical holidays (like Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and community losses. In the way the 9/11 attacks insinuated a unity between us as Americans, the rocks and the messages displayed on them bring a common cause to our community, allowing us a united front and similar sharing of ideas. The rocks help us to not put the past behind us, but learn to move up from it. They unite our community and commemorate our past.

  3. This article was really moving from my personal experince I knew my parents were really affected by 9/11 and told me they missed work and stayed home and called relatives and friends making sure they were okay . Connecting 9/11 to Oak Ridge and interviewing a teacher really showed how our school was feeling this day and how it affected every staff member and student on campus. This terrorist attack will be one of the most devastating attacks in US history. Overall this article connected well to Oak Ridge and the history of 9/11 and made me feel what everyone was feeling the horrific day of 9/11.

  4. I agree with what you say in this article. I think it is sad that we take advantage of the rocks and use it for more birthday shout outs instead of things and important events that has happened in out past history. I also agree that the 9/11 event was a traumatic incident that hurt us Americans and brought us closer even within the horror. In 2006 the construction for the 9/11 memorial started. I think that the memorial in New York relates to the rocks in El Dorado Hills because they are both ways to grieve and never forget the past.